New COVID-19 vaccine requirements for government employees are being unveiled across the US as the country attempts to jump-start its slowing immunization rate.
The vaccine mandates come amid what federal health officials have called a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
Those in the US who have not received a vaccine now account for around 99.5 percent of the country’s coronavirus deaths and 97 percent of its hospitalizations, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
With nearly 51 percent of the US population still not fully vaccinated, cities such as the Big Apple and San Francisco, as well as at least one state and federal agency, are rolling out new policies.
New York City
Gotham just announced a mandate for its municipal workers — including teachers and police officers — to get vaccinated by mid-September or undergo weekly coronavirus testing.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said the new rule was part of the effort to boost the city’s recovery.
“This is about what we need to do to bring back New York City, This is about keeping people safe,” de Blasio said Monday.
The policy will impact the city’s 340,000 employees.
De Blasio said unvaccinated city employees will be required to wear masks indoors at all times, as well as get the weekly testing.
San Francisco will require its 35,000 city employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine — or they could potentially lose their jobs.
The northern California municipality is believed to be the first US city to mandate that all government staffers be inoculated against the virus, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Workers will be granted exemptions for medical or religious reasons, the outlet reported.
But those without exemptions who still refuse to get vaccinated will face “repercussions [that] go all the way up to termination,” said Mawuli Tugbenyoh, chief of policy for the city’s Department of Human Resources.
California will require all state workers and health-care employees to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or face weekly testing.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday that the new policy will take effect Aug. 2 and testing will be phased in over the next few weeks.
“An individual’s choice not to get vaccinated is now impacting the rest of us in a profound and devastating and deadly way,” Newsom said.
The policy will impact around 238,000 state employees and at least 2 million health-care workers in the public and private sectors, according to the state’s controller’s office.
The US Department of Veterans Affairs
The federal Department of Veterans Affairs has mandated that all of its health-care personnel get vaccinated against COVID-19.
The agency announced Monday that the new rule will affect physicians, dentists, podiatrists, optometrists, registered nurses and physician assistants, as well as workers in departmental facilities and those who provide direct care to veterans.
“Increased vaccinations among health care personnel will not only reduce the spread of COVID-19 but also reduce the harmful toll this virus is taking within the health care workforce and those we are striving to serve,” said Dr. Susan Bailey, immediate past president of the American Medical Association, in a statement.
Employees will be given eight weeks to get the jab — though it’s unclear whether those who refuse will face any repercussions.
With Post Wires